21st century Journalism – Where do we go from here?

The manifestation of free speech has drastically changed over the last few years. The power over information which was solely in the hands of established media giants, is now divided amongst every individual who owns a smartphone.

However, this shift of power does not come without danger and consequence. The age of information has tilted power in favour of the consumer, which now threatens the existence of contemporary media.

The time where journalists functioned as the voice of the people has passed, and now people have the means to be heard.

Today, everyone has a voice.

Today, everyone can be a journalist.

That’s the dilemma of the modern journalist. How can I distinguish myself?


Four panelists

The Game Changer. A recent event hosted by La Trobe’s upstart magazine that took place at The State Library of Victoria. Four panellists discussed social media, politics, and 21st century journalism, which was then followed by Q&A and drinks.

The talk was moderated by Erdem Koc, lecturer, Department of Communications and Media, and executive editor for upstart magazine.

With guest speakers Tom Cowie, La Trobe alumnus and crime reporter for The Age; Mark Di Stefano, political editor of BuzzFeed Australia; Jess Gregory, Policy and Communications Officer for the Victorian peak body for family violence services, and former journalist.


Some key issues that were covered:

The gap between what’s important and what’s interesting

In an attempt to maintain continuous readership, news organisations are now inclined to cover stories that attract their target audience instead of what they deem to be newsworthy.

Ask yourself

No one wants to read it, so even if it’s important do we still have to tell the story?

There’s a mounting pressure for media outlets to keep track of social media trends, and to retain strong social media presence. It seems that the pressure is so great that some have resorted to clickbait with hyperbolic headlines and false claims.

Journalists need to find a way to be relevant in a ‘sea of mediocrity’

Today our professional value is often judged by the new things that we have to offer. As journalists we therefore have to find the stories that are not being told, or tell the stories in ways that have never been told before. You have to have the initiative to immerse yourself in the industry and at the same time, find ways of presenting your content in ways that allow it to stand out without being obscured by other relevant content.

Ask yourself

What do I know that other people can’t talk about, but me?


From left to right: Erdem Koc, Tom Cowie, Jess Gregory, and Mark Di Stefano

By Haj Songcuya

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